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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 6, 1998




Americans are living longer, healthier lives. As a Nation, we are witnessing a dramatic growth in the population of Americans aged 55 and older, a trend that will continue well into the next century. To maintain our dynamic economy and to fill the jobs of the 21st century, we must make the most of the creative potential and productive capacity of this growing segment of our society.

Unfortunately, many Americans aged 55 and older encounter serious difficulty finding employment when they lose their jobs or seek to change careers. Employers too often focus on the age of older workers instead of their qualifications and strong work ethic. By failing to recognize the wealth of skills and experience older workers can bring to their jobs, such employers deny them an equal opportunity to make their own valuable contributions to the American workplace.

To counter these challenges, laws and government programs offer older workers the protections and services they need to ensure fair employment opportunities and practices. The Age Discrimination Act, the Older Americans Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protect the basic rights of millions of older working Americans. The Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services also assist older workers through such efforts as the Senior Community Service Employment Program and the programs of the Administration on Aging.

Older Americans actively contribute to our communities through their hard work, wisdom, and experience. They have rightly earned our admiration and respect; they have also earned a fair chance at a good job. As we observe National Older Workers Employment Week, I urge all employers, when they hire new workers, to consider carefully the skills and other qualifications of men and women aged 55 and older and to fully utilize this rich national resource.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 8 through March 14, 1998, as National Older Workers Employment Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the contributions that older workers make to the workplace and to our economy, and I urge public officials responsible for job placement, training, and related services to intensify their efforts throughout the year to help older Americans find suitable jobs and training.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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